May 24th 2017

American mariners were honored Monday at National Maritime Day commemorations in cities, towns and ports across the United States.

In Washington, D.C., government officials and representatives of the maritime unions and U.S.-flag shipping companies attended a solemn wreath-laying ceremony organized by the Maritime Administration.

President Donald Trump issued the traditional Presidential Maritime Day Proclamation, which read in part:

“On National Maritime Day, we recognize the important role the United States Merchant Marine plays in supporting our commerce and national security. We honor the proud history of our merchant mariners and their important contributions in strengthening our economy….”

“Today, the men and women who crew ships remain essential to our Nation’s prosperity and security. Those in the maritime industry, including merchant mariners, promote our economic growth, facilitating the export of more than $475 billion in goods just last year and sustaining our critical defense industrial base.”

“Merchant mariners also actively protect our homeland, serving as our eyes and ears on the seas. They serve with distinction and courage, heading into war zones, and too often sacrificing their own lives for our protection…”

Congress declared May 22 National Maritime Day in 1933 to focus attention on America’s proud maritime heritage and to honor the men and women of the American Merchant Marine.

Among the speakers at the official National Maritime Day ceremony were U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Rear Adm. Dee L. Mewbourne, USN, commander, Military Sealift Command, and Acting Maritime Administrator Joel Szabat.